The film was released to mixed reviews from audiences and garnered a miniscule gross in-terms of box-office draw. It cost around fifty-million dollars to make, but failed to make even half that in-return.
As one might expect, it is a rambling of barely coherent story that often replicates sheer insanity. I don't necessarily mean this as a criticism and most that know anything at all about Hunter wont take it as such. It was simply what made him worth reading from.
As the movie begins, a back-story is given about the title-character, Paul Kemp, played by Johnny Depp, an author that since hasn't been able to sell a book. He has wrote multiple stories but can't seem to successfully get published, however, he does manage to land a job at a newspaper in Puerto Rico. Once there, he meets Sala, and various others that he intermingles with throughout almost the entirety of the film.
He checks into a hotel and while on a boat, he sees a woman that he'd later learn is named Chenault, played by Amber Heard. Chenault is avoiding a Union Carbide party to skinny dip while her boyfriend gives a speech. Her boyfriend is Hal Sanderson played by Two-Face. (Aaron Eckhart) Hal manages to become something of an antagonist for his shady antics and questionable decisions.
The Rum Diary has an underlining theme symbolizing corruption as well as standing up for what you believe in. Also, with a little bit of Hunter S. Thompson thrown in.
What this means is that there is going to be chicken-fight, and they're going to end up playing much more of a role in the story than what they probably should.
You have to take the good, the bad, and everything that comes in-between with this movie to enjoy it.
The film is very strange, albeit not in how actually strange it is. The pace of the movie feels relatively slow and it has a run-time of almost exactly two-hours. I can't say for certain whether the film drags, or it simply doesn't add up to a consistence narrative. Ultimately, more than half of the film could have been cut without much of anything being missed in-terms of anything relevant to the story. I suppose that's to be expected, but unfortunately, the randomness doesn't always lead to something worthwhile or entertaining.
There is a lot of time for body-language, and slow, precise execution throughout the movie, and what makes this strange is I didn't perceive it as being slow-pace when I was watching it. I don't know what it is about it, but some of the moments are hit and miss. As I've said, it doesn't drag, at times, it feels like it's just kind of 'there'.
Johnny Depp manages to give an admirable performance. He isn't anywhere near as over-the-top as he was in Fear and Loathing, which shouldn't be expected in the first place. He seems calm and normal for the most part like he simply takes in the world that is wacky and crazy.
Harvey Dent, or whatever his name is, Aaron Eckhart does well. He has the ability to come off as likable one minute and hateful the next. Amber Heard did fine, Chenault seemed wild and crazy, but I never found anything distinguishable about her. Similar to Kristen Stewart role in On the Road, I suppose. She isn't given much to work with, and doesn't do much with it either.
In conclusion, I won't say that this is a great movie, because it isn't, the story isn't very powerful, and it's more about having an entertaining ride than having one that is deep.
It's escapism that doesn't truly delve into much else. However, I will credit the moments toward the end when the Paul Kemp character seemed to hit his stride of bitterness and rage, standing up against the "bastards".
More or less, it's an enjoyable movie that has entertainment value. It doesn't exactly zoom by, but it doesn't exactly drag either.
Johnny Depp has sounded off with saying that he'd love nothing more than to play Hunter in The Curse of Lono, Hell's Angels, and The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved. I'd be for it.
Thanks for reading...
Rating: Above Average